Miyerkules, Marso 14, 2012

Kitchen Utensils

To operate a kitchen efficiently, we need basic cooking utensils and that includes chef's tools and serving spoons, to not only prepare the meal, but also to serve it.  And that's where a cooking utensils list comes in handy - so our kitchen can be ready and functional.   This cooking utensils list covers the essential tools that every kitchen needs, from a can opener to a carving knife. This gives you a very practical base that you can build on as you develop your gourmet cooking skills and expand your stock of kitchen tools.  
Choose cooking utensils that will not damage your cookware.  If you have nonstick pots, pans or skillets, a few of your cooking utensils should be plastic or silicone.  Keep in mind that some plastics can take the heat from a quick stir or lifting in a hot pot or skillet, and silicone tools have varying degrees of heat resistance but to protect these utensils, you should avoid extended periods of high heat.

1. Spatulas to Blend, Mix, Scrape

The term spatula refers to several types of kitchen utensils including: rubber or silicone tools to blend or scrape the food from the bowl; metal, silicone or plastic egg turners or flippers.  We'll look first at the type you would use to scrape a bowl or stir in a pot. You need at least a couple of rubber or silicone spatulas, but more is better, depending on what you like to do in the kitchen.  If you love to bake and cook, a few different styles and sizes would be advisable.  A new handy breed of spatula has emerged the last few years - a combined spatula and spoon - called a spanula or spatula spoon. And the Chef'n company has revised their popular silicone Switchit spatulas, into dual ended kitchen tools, which are very handy for everything from blending to cleaning up. 

2. Spatulas or Flippers to Lift, Turn, Remove

Also called spatulas, are egg turners or flippers for turning hamburgers and other food items.  Metal or plastic spatulas are handy for placing foods in a hot skillet and turning as required.  You can also use these spatulas for serving main dishes or dessert portions.  An assortment of sizes and styles is very practical for various tasks and you'll want to have at least one that is very thin for removing cookies from a baking sheet, as well as one that is very flexible for turning eggs.  Silicone spatulas are handy when turning foods in a hot skillet - they can take the heat.  However, they are more 'slippery' than other types and not the best for turning eggs neatly.

Wooden spoons continue to be kitchen essentials because of their usefulness for mixing and stirring, either in a bowl or in a pot on the stove.  They are also ideal for use in nonstick cookware.  Though they do wear down over time and tend to discolor easily, most are very durable.  Though you can use a large metal stirring spoon for mixing, a wooden spoon is preferred by most.  That being said, there are those that have turned their attention to the new spatula spoon or spanula that can also take the heat. 

4. Openers for Cans, Bottles, Cartons

The basic opener - and every kitchen needs at least one, is an opener that can open a food tin, preferably with a smooth operation, and comfortable grip and turning knob. Though some prefer an electric can opener, it's always handy to have a rotary model on hand for use during power outages. In fact, your disaster kit should contain a simple, basic can opener.  You also need a can punch or bottle opener. Then there are various other openers or box cutters for cartons or to safely open clamshell packaging.  And if you like to serve wine, a good cookscrew remover is a must.

5. Vegetable Peelers

You can peel carrots or potatoes with a paring knife, but you'll do a cleaner and sometimes safer job with a vegetable peeler.  You'll also remove less of the vegetable while doing so, which means more food for the pot and so for this reason alone, a peeler is worth having.  There are various styles of peelers and most are sharp and efficient.  It really depends on your preference when it comes to choosing between a straight (traditional) peeler and one where the blade is offset.  Some peelers are larger and more suited to peeling a large fruit or vegetable.  When choosing a peeler, handle it and see how well it fits in your hand, because handle lengths do vary.

6. Serving and Salad Spoons

There are various serving spoons and you'll need at least a small assortment and more, if you do a lot of entertaining or buffet serving. Serving spoons come in either metal, stainless or plastic construction. There are also slotted spoons for serving vegetables and longer salad spoons which are usually a pair of specially-designed tools that make serving lettuce or coleslaw easier. It can be very handy to have different sizes of spoons, for serving from small bowls or large platter, or to accommodate different food portions.

7. Soup Ladle

One of the most essential kitchen utensils is a large soup spoon or ladle which is used for serving soup or stews, but can also be used for gravy, dessert sauces or other foods.  Use a smaller ladle for delicate sauces or small servings.  A soup ladle also works well to remove or skim off fat from soups and stews.

8. Splatter Screen

Splatter screens are very handy and easy to store, but not always on a cook's essential list of kitchen tools, but they should be. That's because a splatter screen can save you clean-up time and it can also make you want to cook or fry those foods that you tend to avoid, simply because of the grease splatter they cause.

9. Pasta Spoon or Server

While you can serve pasta with a fork or serving spoon, it's usually a messy operation.  But with a pasta spoon or server, you can easily transfer a little or much cooked pasta to a waiting plate, without that mess.  Pasta spoons are best used with spaghetti-style or other long pasta noodles; you can use a large slotted serving spoon for short pastas.  There are plastic or metal pasta spoons - choose one based on the type of pasta cooking pot you use.   If you usually use a nonstick pot, buy a plastic pasta spoon which can then be used in any type of pot, but avoid using a metal spoon in a nonstick pot.

10. Whisks for Blending, Mixing

A wire or stainless whisk is very practical for quick blending, mixing and whipping. Though it would take a long time to whip cream with a hand whisk (this task is more quickly accomplished with a hand blender or mixer), a wire whisk is great for blending gravy, scrambling an egg or mixing a quick oil dressing. You can find a variety of sizes and shapes of whisks on the market and more than one, can be very practical for those who love to cook and bake.